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Bright Lights, Big Danger: How to Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again! Time to deck the halls, fill the stockings, trim a tree and string up those twinkling lights. But before you start decorating, read on for our top tips on how to keep your furry friends safe this holiday season.

Christmas Lights
One of the most common hazards for pets during the holidays is Christmas lights. Cats, in particular, seem to be attracted to the sparkling lights and will often try to nibble on the cords. This can be extremely dangerous, as cats can suffer burns or even electrocution if they chew through an electrical cord. Dogs can also be injured by chewing on cords, so it’s important to keep all cords out of reach of both cats and dogs. If you’re worried about your pet getting tangled up in cords, consider using zip ties or cord covers to keep them hidden and out of reach.

Christmas Trees
Whether fake or real, Christmas trees often have in sharp needles that can hurt your pet if they’re stepped on or swallowed. Cats in particular are prone to playing with and eating plants, so be sure to clean up the needles daily. Cats love to climb trees (it’s in their nature!) and may see your beautifully decorated tree as nothing more than a giant scratching post. Dogs, on the other hand, may see the tree as a chew toy and could easily knock it over if they become too excited. To prevent accidents, make sure your tree is securely anchored to the wall or ceiling so it can’t be knocked over easily. Also, cover the base to deter climbing cats. And if you have a real tree, be sure Fido or Fluffy can’t drink from the water.

Ornaments are a big holiday hazard for pets. They’re often made of glass or metal, which can break if your pet knocks them off the tree. Sharp pieces of glass or metal can then cut your pet’s skin or cause them to choke if swallowed. In addition, many ornaments have small parts that can be easily removed, like bells or beads. If ingested, these small parts can cause blockages in your pet’s digestive system. To avoid these hazards, opt for pet-friendly ornaments made of softer materials like fabric or plush toys. You should also avoid hanging anything edible on the tree, like candy canes or fruitcakes, as tempting as they may be for your furry friend.

Tinsel can be dangerous for pets if ingested, so avoid using it altogether or make sure it’s kept well out of reach. If you must use tinsel, consider investing in pet-safe alternatives made from cloth or paper.

This holiday season, take a few extra steps to keep your pets safe from common hazards like Christmas trees, lights, and electrical cords. Also be mindful of decorations like ornamental beads and small trinkets that could pose a choking hazard if swallowed. By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the holidays knowing that your beloved pets are safe and sound.

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The American Association of Pet Parents (AAPP) is a national nonprofit dedicated to keeping pets happy, healthy and in their loving homes – and out of animal shelters.